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The Good Shepherd's Covenant: Shepherd Imagery in Targum Jonathan to Ezekiel 34


The present essay is an excerpt, with significant alterations, of the author’s 2023 MA thesis at the University of Copenhagen. The original 97-page inquiry into Targum Jonathan to Ezekiel’s theocratic, and therefore Messianic program, offered only one relevant section for our present theme, namely, Ezekiel 34’s use of shepherd imagery. The work is divided into two sections: the first introduces the Targumin and contends for a composition date of the first century using linguistic and contextual analysis; the second is a survey of chapter 34’s content, exploring themes of judgment, salvation, redemption, and theocracy. The work also investigates the meturgeman’s (targum translator) use of Messianic notions already latent within the Hebrew text. For Pentecostals, this does not come as a surprise. Orthodox Pentecostal doctrine proclaims Jesus as the Lamb slain before the foundations of the earth (Rev. 13:8); the Gospel of John records Jesus as saying Moses spoke of him (Jn. 5:46); and on the road to Emmaus, the Gospel of Luke tells us, “Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, [Jesus] interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures” (Lk. 24:26). Therefore, the present work, adhering to classical Pentecostal doctrine, is convinced we see Jesus in every doting of the I and crossing of the T, from Genesis to Revelation. This statement moves us beyond the realm of historical analysis and into theological hermeneutics, a transition the present author is all too happy to make. Though there is merit in pressing the Scriptures using more critical methodology, the present work has been amended to be thoroughly confessional, exploring Targum Jonathan to Ezekiel’s Christological application of MT Ezekiel’s Messianic pastoral imagery.


Ezekiel, Good Shepherd, Targum, Targum Ezekiel, Targum Jonathan, Targum studies, Hebrew Bible, Shepherd Imagery


Author Biography

Joel D. Bornau

Joel Daniel Borowski is an author, journalist, pastor, and political activist. He has served in a humanitarian role in numerous conflict zones, aiding the persecuted Christian church in Pakistan, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, and Ukraine. His heart is for the Gospel of the Kingdom to take root and flourish in difficult and restricted environments.